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Israeli Invasion in Historical Perspective

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By Ben Cohen

The U.S media has assiduously avoided giving any historical reference to the Israeli assault on Gaza, portraying it as a response to Hamas aggression. The truth, of course, is far more complex and far reaching than our sound byte culture would like to admit. The truth is that the Palestinians were dealt a grave historic injustice when their land was taken away during the creation of Israel in 1948, and they have been fighting to get it back ever since. Chris Hedges of was a personal friend of Hamas leader Nizar Rayan, who was killed last week in a targeted assassination by Israel, and has an interesting take on events that takes into account the fragile and very volatile history of the region:

Rayan’s grandfather and great-uncle were killed in the

1948 war

that led to the establishment of Israel. His grandmother died shortly

after she and her son, Rayan’s father, were driven from their village

by Jewish fighters. His father was passed among relatives and grew up

with the bitterness of the dispossessed—a bitterness the father passed

on to the son and the son passed on to his own children.

Israeli militias in 1948 drove some
800,000 Palestinians from their homes, farms, towns and villages into
exile in the West Bank, Gaza and neighboring countries. Israeli
historian Ilan Pappe’s book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” details
the deliberate Israeli policy of removing Palestinians from their

“There was not a single night that we did
not think and talk about Palestine,” Rayan said the last time I saw
him, his eyes growing moist. “We were taught that our lives must be
devoted to reclaiming our land.”

To understand this conflict, there needs to be an understanding of why Palestinians are fighting. Blanket phrases like 'terrorism' do not explain Palestinian violence, it merely reduces it to black and white logic that serves no one and exacerbates the problem.